A long term review of a classic jacket

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You won’t believe us. This review arrived without asking. Even better Adele Mitchell penned it – pro journo and MTB rider about a Harrington sold to her husband 3 years prior. We’d completely forgotten about it.

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One of the joys of my job as a journalist is that I get to review lots of cycling kit. This how a review usually works: my commissioning editor sends me a garment. I note its technical and design details, wear it on a bike ride, take some photographs and write the review (usually to meet a very short deadline).

This review is a little bit different: for a start, I paid for this jacket. And it isn’t me that has worn it: this was a Christmas present, for my husband, Paul. I also bought it in 2012 – so it’s made more than a couple of trips around the proverbial block. Vulpine was just a few months old at the time, so I image that there probably aren’t too many Harringtons that are older nor, owning to my OH’s habit of finding something he likes and then wearing it nearly ALL THE TIME, as well worn.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate long-term review of a Vulpine Harrington rain jacket this, I’d like to think, is it:

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So here goes… (please note: some of the design details such as button colour are different on new jackets).

Ever the professional reviewer, I spotted what I thought could be a potential design fault – albeit a niche one – straightaway. The Harrington features button details at the back, on the hip, and Paul is a photographer: this means he spends much of his life with a heavy camera bag or chunky pro camera slung over one shoulder. Frankly I didn’t fancy those buttons’ chances in the face of a regular battering from Canon’s finest. To be honest this very nearly put me off buying it.

So what swung my decision? A great fit on my OH’s 6’ 2” frame (the dropped rear hem is a touch of genius if you’re tall), and the fact that it looked good on him – it’s a tailored look based on a classic Mod design. What’s more, this jacket is comes in waterproof yet lightweight Epic Cotton, and was also beautifully made: a great option for someone who prefers more casual dressing, has an active job, but still wants to look smart.

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But would it stand the test of time?

First off, I’m happy to report that two and a half years and a lot of use later, those rear buttons are still hanging on in there: a fine testament to someone’s excellent sewing machine skills and, frankly, something of a tailoring miracle.

As you might expect with the life of a photographer, this Harrington has seen its fair share of globe-trotting. This included an unintentional trip to Amsterdam (pictured), when bad weather caused a flight from Sweden to be rerouted moments before the intended landing at Gatwick: not the most relaxing of flights, apparently, but at least it provided a bicycle photo op. Paul wears it on location, in studios, for meetings (bloke with a beard at a Hoxton design agency ““Nice jacket – is that Vulpine?”), to the pub and for being a dad. It fits the bill every time.

Despite being advertised as a rain jacket, the breathability of the silicon treated Epic Cotton means it has proven to be suitable for wear in most weather conditions, wet or dry – in fact, it has been worn almost daily except for mid winter and high summer. The Harrington is also surprisingly crumple proof: when it’s not been worn it hangs on the back of the larder door (note: sadly there’s no hanging tab), sandwiched between mountain bike jackets and school blazers, all of which look considerably more ‘ tired’.

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So what about its cycling credentials? Paul rides a mountain bike and muddy trail riding is no place for this jacket (nor any jacket that you don’t want destroyed by wayward brambles). So it’s seen limited cycling action – indoors on a turbo trainer, during a break on a women’s road bike shoot at Specialized, for instance (pictured). Clearly the jacket fits him better than this bike does.

Is it worth the £195 splurge?

After 30 months of regular use there is a little wear on the fleece inside the collar and on the reflective cuff edge (the newer Harringtons don’t feature this) and the fabric has faded a little (albeit after several washes). The collar has a permanent dent – it seems the camera, or at least its strap, has reaped a little sartorial havoc after all, and there is a wear on the hem too, though you have to look pretty closely to see that. As for the ‘hardwear’: the magnetic collar and pocket closure still work, the zips continue to fasten with aplomb (and zip fail is often the downfall of a long wear cycle jacket) and the Epic Cotton continues to be waterproof, robust and hardwearing.

In other words, it is still going strong.

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I’ll conclude this long- term review with a short interview.

Me: “What do you like about your Vulpine Harrington jacket?

Paul: “It’s lightweight, it fits well and it’s hard wearing.’

Me: “And what don’t you like about it?

Paul: “Nothing, really.”

 

So, there you go.

3 thoughts on “A long term review of a classic jacket”

  1. I met Paul earlier this year on a cycling trip he was documenting and I can confirm his jacket looked really good and was worn whenever the temperature dropped. I had bought my daughter one last year and was thrilled it was obviously a fantastic purchase.

  2. Great review of a nice jacket.
    Very nearly bought one during the recent sale but was sidetracked by a pretty guitar instead.
    Top of my ‘Purchase when the opportunity/finance graph intersects’ chart.

  3. I have owned a Harrington for a year or more and I’m in complete agreement – the jacket does exactly what I need it to do on my commute and in everyday use which include; keeping me dry when it rains, carrying some stuff like phone/tickets/wallet/keys, be durable and look presentable when at work. I spent an age looking at various jackets, trying to find something that fitted but didn’t cling and was more casual than racey. I’m 6’4” and I think my wife would say ‘slim’, the main area I struggle with is usually arm length but as this jacket is ‘fitted’ I find the large size fits me great. It allows me to wear various layers underneath so I wear this a lot! Wearing a couple of merino layers and this jacket and I’m fine even on the worst winter mornings. I wear a backpack most of the time on the bike and it really has worn in well, no lost buttons, no loss of protection and it does pay to wash regularly. For me, worth every penny, my favourite jacket and I don’t come across many which amazes me. A great example of ‘you get what you pay for’……plus a bit extra.

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